The roads once considered to be the best in Rawalpindi are now a clutter of potholes and raw sewage thanks to the choked drainage system. Sewers start overflowing during each spell of rain due to the indifference of the civic bodies.
“The other day while coming from Defence towards the district courts, I saw a depression at the end of the first lane of the security check post. I wonder how it escaped the eyes of the Cantonment Board,” asked Hussain Shehryar, a retired army official.
“Shah Khalid Colony Service Road has become a veritable nightmare for commuters and pedestrians. The road is flooded every time it rains,” says Hasrat Ali Khan, an area resident.
Sadaqat Hasan, who lives on Adiala Road, says, “The foul smell of sewage also engulfs our area. A number of people have fallen prey to the craters beneath the dirty water. I witnessed an open van loaded with fruit crates tumbling and causing a traffic jam for about 20 minutes.”
“Who wants to wade through sewage? Bigger vehicles can escape unscathed, but what if a cyclist or biker gets his shoe or purse lost in the murky depth? I witnessed a cyclist stumbling into a pit in Lalkurti, get up and then grope in the water for his wallet,” said Manzar Naqi from the Katarian Road.
“Several such scenes are witnessed on Saidpur Road, where rainwater makes the already choked sewage lines overflow, inundating the road. Despite the congestion, shopkeepers and stallholders continue to occupy the footpath and part of the road,” says Akbar Hussain Gilgiti.
“The traffic problem as well as the flooding of the road due to choked sewers has put a question mark on the kind of sanitation the civic body is trying to provide to residents. The civic bodies should be dragged into civil courts for failing to provide proper sanitation,” says Feroze Khan, who runs a school in Dhoke Hassu.
“Various civic amenities are missing from our locality, including water supply, drainage and streetlights. This step-motherly treatment being meted out to us must end,” says Muhammad Shoaib from Arya Mohallah.
“Residents of the oldest localities of the city are forced to live in unhygienic conditions. Since these areas are mainly inhabited by poor people, authorities are least bothered,” says Asghar Ali, a vegetable vendor.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2014.